Rugby

The 6 Most Daily Mail Comments On The Daily Mail's 'Swing Low' Story

The 6 Most Daily Mail Comments On The Daily Mail's 'Swing Low' Story

The global Black Lives Matter protests have forced many institutions to scrutinise the racist history, and its present-day implications. Yesterday, the RFU announced it would be reviewing the 'historical context' of its fan anthem 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'. 'Swing Low' has been sang around the terraces of English club rugby for decades but was elevated to the status of an anthem when black player Martin 'Chariots' Offiah was at his peak in the late 1980s.

The RFU said yesterday:

 'The Swing Low, Sweet Chariot song has long been part of the culture of rugby and is sung by many who have no awareness of its origins or its sensitivities.

'We are reviewing its historical context and our role in educating fans to make informed decisions.'

'Swing Low' has a complicated history. It's an African-American spiritual penned by a Native American. The song is about a slave who longs for death in the face of the living obscenity of slavery. While it has been sung beautifully by the likes of Paul Robeson, its origins are vastly different from the English rugby anthem it has become.

Ugo Monye was quite articulate when discussing the song on the Today programme on Radio 4 today.

"We can't ban people from singing a song. We keep coming back to the topic of education. We've heard a lot over the past while that you can't airbrush your history. Well the education system does a pretty good job of that."

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Monye says he wouldn't be offended to hear the song at Twickenham but called for people to educate themselves in the history of the song and then decide for themselves if they want to sing it.

On Twitter, Brian Moore gave his reasons for moving on from 'Swing Low':

The song is obviously an issue for black English players. Maro Itoje told the Mail this week: 'I don't think anyone at Twickenham is singing it with malicious intent, but the background of that song is complicated.'

We say all of that as a way to provide context for the reaction of Daily Mail readers to the news.

The RFU statement was always going to rankle with the readers of the Daily Mail. We combed through the comments beneath the story and extracted our six favourite and most on-brand comments from the Mail readership. We're well aware the Mail comments section is the last place to find enlightened online debate, but these kneejerk reactions go a long to prove just how difficult considered debate on this issue will be.

  1. Smokiewater: You can't say anything, you can't look at anything and now you can't sing anything. Two words, and the second is 'stuffed'.
  2. Exservicemanjack: What about Flower of Scotland. Anti English
  3. Pablo71: Once its prohibited and you sing it ...you will be identified by your seat number. And you will be banned, prosecuted as a big*t and likely lose your job. Welcome to the world zero
  4. Plotty: No matter what you so or do you can't change history, it's already happened.
  5. Bun Russell-Gough: I sort of hope that the fans keep on singing, just to hear the shrieks of impotent fury from the trendy leftists and the utterly unworkable 'solutions' including playing behind locked doors to "punish the big ots".
  6. Lodge60: I'm dreaming of a white Christmas could be next.

This - from Celestineboy - was the most downvoted comment:

"About time England acknowledged its history of pillage and take, it's not all about ww2, look deeper and be honest."

We'll give the final word to nelle48:

"Can anyone tell me why England supporting fans think a song about a slave craving death to release him from the hell he's living is uplifting?"

Donny Mahoney

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